One of my most favorite TV commercials was the animated cartoon depicting a man arguing with his stomach. This late 60s advertisement was produced for Alka-Seltzer. I was reminded of this commercial recently while reading from Emanuel Swedenborg’s symbolic interpretation of Revelation 10:9,10. These two verses deal with John of Patmos eating a book given to him by an angel.
Swedenborg’s interpretation inspired me to rewrite the famous Alka-Seltzer commercial—but with a spiritual twist that adds symbolic language into the dialogue. I will play the role of the off-camera narrator.
(Open on man arguing with his stomach)
ME: “Hey you two, what’s all the commotion about?”
MAN: (Pointing to stomach) “He won’t quiet down!”
STOMACH: “You won’t stop eating all that spicy food! (Points at man) “You want heartburn?”
MAN: “You should be used to me by now!”
STOMACH: “Did you have to eat that book, too?!! Who do you think you are—John of Patmos?”
MAN: “I was hungry for something more. Swedenborg’s book on theology is the sweetest thing I have ever tasted! Why wouldn’t I eat it all up?”
STOMACH: “Well this time you bit off more than you can chew. How am I supposed to metabolize all that new material? I’m the one who has to convince your blood to absorb this new material.”
MAN: “You always get upset by my choices!”
STOMACH: “It isn’t sitting well with me. The book contains so many new and unexpected levels of information about God and Scripture that I quickly suffer spiritual indigestion when I start breaking it down. Besides, your blood cells still crave your old ways and worldly tastes. I can’t change your blood chemistry overnight!”
ME: “Fellas, fellas, you obviously haven’t heard of the Swedenborgian Church.” (Directed at stomach) “Man does not live by bread alone.” (Directed at man) “When you read Swedenborg, help your stomach out. The Swedenborgian Church can help satisfy your taste for new spiritual truth.” (Directed at stomach) “And assist you in bringing these potent new ideas into your very blood and life.”
STOMACH: “Well, I’ll try… if he does.”
TAGLINE: The Swedenborgian Church. When you hunger for something more.